The other day I was asked an interesting question by a friend. The question was posed like this:
Infant Baptism: Jesus chose to be baptized Himself, we have Confirmation, so why do we need infant baptism?
To start off with why we Baptize infants, it is because of the belief of Original Sin from the fall of Adam and Eve. Baptism is what cleans the soul so that this Original Sin (and any sins that have occurred after) can be washed away and forgiven. Jesus tells John the Baptist to baptize Him, and John’s response is “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” (Mt 3:14). John recognizes that baptism is necessary and flows from Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Baptism completely forgives us of our sins. We baptize infants so that if something does happen to them before they reach the age of reason to choose to be baptized, they will be able to reach eternal salvation. Jesus also tells us that He wants us to go about and make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Mt 28:19).
The Sacrament of Confirmation is a completely different Sacrament. Upon the age of reason and usually within teen years, the individual is now able to choose upon themselves whether they want to be fully accepted into the Roman Catholic Church. After formation, the individual should have the reasoning and information they need to make a fully informed decision if they want to be accepted into the Church. If the teachers did their job successfully, the individual should be more than willing to make this decision.
We baptize infants because it is necessary for their salvation in Heaven. We do not know when God will call them up. We need baptism in order to obtain that salvation. There is no reason today why baptism would be difficult to obtain. Even with the priest shortage, it is quite easy to request. There are also numerous graces that can be obtained only through baptism as there are so many things that become more easy post baptism. As a convert, I can personally attest that I noticed a difference in many aspects of my life after my sins had been washed away.